Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, has said public servants in Dominica deserve a raise but the overall welfare of Dominica must be primarily considered.
In it’s latest round of negotiations with the Dominica Public Service Union (DPSU), the government has offered a wage freeze for the 2015-2018 triennium, something the union has refused to accept.
Speaking at a town hall meeting recently, Skerrit said public servants deserve a raise since they are hard working, however there are other matters to be considered.
“If you were to ask me as a citizen of this country, as Prime Minister of this country, ‘do public officers require a raise?’ I would have first said ‘yes.’ There are some who are working very hard. But at the end of the day, my friends, we have to look at the overall wealth of the country. When you give a raise that you cannot afford, how are you going to sustain it?” he remarked.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister accused General Secretary of the DPSU, Thomas Letang of bringing partisan politics into the union and its negotiation with the government.
He said there has never been a breakdown between the two parties on salary negotiations.
“If there is a breakdown, then the matter is referred to the Prime Minister who will then intervene,” he said. “What Mr. Letang is doing, by involving partisan politics in the Union and the negotiations, is a dangerous thing.”
Skerrit said that in the past, he has had occasions to discuss and negotiate with the Union and they have left “more than satisfied with the government when we negotiated.”
The DPSU held a solidarity rally on Thursday March 16th with its members.
At the rally, Letang made it clear that the proposal for a wage freeze has been rejected, challenging the government to “find the money to pay them.”
Letang said protest action is not being ruled out if demands are not met.